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    Monday, March 20, 2023

    Courtney names de la Cruz his State-of-the-Union guest

    U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, announced Monday he will host former state Rep. Joe de la Cruz as his guest of honor during President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address.

    Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. Tuesday.

    A union sheet metal worker and vice president of Hillery Co., a metal fabricator and submarine supplier in Groton, de la Cruz has long been a leader in eastern Connecticut’s manufacturing sector, Courtney’s office said. De la Cruz also has played a key role in growing the region’s skilled workforce through his work in the legislature and with programs like the Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative.

    “Eastern Connecticut is at the tip of the spear when it comes to America’s manufacturing resurgence, and people like Joe de la Cruz are a big part of the reason why,” Courtney said in a statement. “I’m grateful for the chance to host him for tomorrow night’s State of the Union address.”

    De la Cruz, who represented Groton in the state legislature from 2016 to 2022, also is a co-founder of Community Speaks Out, a nonprofit organization that helps people and families struggling with opioid addiction.

    “I am truly honored that Joe Courtney invited me as his guest to witness such a historic moment in our democracy,” de la Cruz said. “The State of the Union not only refers to the present, but also lays out the path for our future. … President Biden has supported the funding to keep the USA ahead of our competitors regarding the submarine program, and has been equally supportive helping solve our country’s overdose catastrophe.”

    Courtney has been named the ranking member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, which is responsible for authorization and oversight of all Navy building, including submarine construction. He previously served as chairman of the subcommittee.

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